The English language has different nouns for the various groups of animals. We call a bunch of cows a "herd." We call a group of geese a "gaggle," a bunch of fish a "school." We call a group of sheep a "flock." There's a "pride" of lions, a "murder" of crows, an "exaltation" of doves, a "parliament" of owls, and a "congress" of baboons. I don't know which of those might apply to folks in the mortgage business when they congregate, but they have been, and will be, congregatin' in conferences.

Next week, of course, is the MBA event in Chicago: mortgage bankers everywhere are gearing up for the MBA Triathlon (making sure your blackberry is charged, sitting through eight 1-hour meetings about paperless & electronic delivery, and then attending five cocktail receptions in 3 hours within 4 blocks).

But on a regional basis, in Bellevue, Washington the following week (10/18) is a dinner hosted by the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association, the topic being "The Current State of Mortgage Banking: How changes may help the industry going forward." More Information

And in the Dallas area, November 7 & 8, the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association is hosting its 61st annual Educational Seminar and Marketplace, titled, "The Confluence of Government Regulation and Loan Origination." Topics include, "Issues Experienced During Compliance Exams & How Financial Institutions Can Be Proactive, Transitioning from a Branch Manager to a Mortgage Banker, Best Practices for Disaster Recovery in Secondary Marketing, The Fine Print in Mortgage Insurance and Quality Control Audits, Right or Wrong What Might Get You Sued? Real Estate Economic Forecast, and Fair Lending from a Legal and Business Standpoint," along with continuing education for MLO's." The early registration ends today, so if you're interested go here."

And for more training, Capital Solutions Financial Group (CSFG), an Irvine CA based lender, is hosting a non-agency real estate mortgage performance, investing, and lending seminar next Wednesday (10/12) evening at its corporate headquarters in Irvine.  Guest speakers include Mark Latimer (President Baypointe Equity - specializing in arranging private mortgage loans), Mike Kaylor (president of the Kaylor Law Firm discussing deferred trusts and tax law), and Rod Colombi (president of CSFG - reviewing recent real estate trend data and investment returns). For more information please contact Rod Colombi

If you're interested in what the US Census Bureau has to say about housing, which might just be pretty interesting, tune in tomorrow at 1PM EST when a few folks from its Housing Statistics Branch do a presentation. Use the toll free number: 1-800-369-2179, with Participant passcode: CENSUS. "Note: Stay on the line until operator asks for the passcode. Do not key in passcode." For the online portion, login early, as some setup is required. URL:, Conference number: PW4849582, Audience passcode: CENSUS.

And for you NMLS issuers, this month's course provider renewal period closed on 9/30 and the October renewal period opened 10/1 - you know who you are and have until Monday, October 31 to submit their renewal applications.  'Course providers up for renewal are encouraged to closely review the documentation posted under the Course Provider Section of the Resource Center to ensure they are in compliance with all requirements prior to submitting the application and paying the fees."

Everywhere I go, loan agents say that the NMLS classes are "kind of interesting, and usually pretty fun until you find out that the teacher means business - usually at the point the cell phones are turned off and go into a bag." The SAFE Act requires that state-licensed mortgage loan originators (MLOs) complete 8 hours of NMLS approved continuing education (CE) annually. The SAFE Act also stipulates that a state-licensed MLO "may not take the same approved course in the same or successive years to meet the annual requirements for continuing education."  NMLS has interpreted the term "successive years" to mean two years in a row. "The NMLS Policy on Late CE courses and the requirements and details associated how to submit courses for the 2011 Late CE catalog has been posted to the Course Provider Section of the NMLS Resource Center under Notices and Examples, and there is a conference call tomorrow at 2PM EST addressing this. "The conference call is limited only NMLS approved course providers.  Providers interested in participating need to RSVP to Rich Madison ( by today."

Yesterday the commentary had a lengthy discourse on the appraisal process. But I had the incorrect name: it's Mark Chapman, not Mark Eastman, from SouthEastern Evaluation. My apologies - normally I save my mistakes for industry news, underwriting updates, and economic statistics!

Starting this week Bank of Internet USA is now BofI Federal Bank.  BofI Federal Bank has adopted the new name and logo to unify its division brands under an umbrella entity.

PHH Mortgage announced that in the last six months it has "agreed to provide mortgage services to five new financial institution clients through its Private Label Solutions (PLS) business. Many in the industry attribute PHH's growth to the servicing agreements that it signs with clients, in that it agrees to not cross-sell to borrowers - a big plus. The press released noted it "signed agreements with these new PLS clients to provide end-to-end mortgage process management services to loan officers, financial advisors and their customers. The Company also said it was unable to reach an agreement to renew an existing relationship with Charles Schwab Bank, and indicated that it expects the addition of its new PLS clients to more than offset any resulting lost income from Charles Schwab Bank...As a result of these signings, we will expand our nationwide footprint for sourcing mortgage originations, with a net gain of more than 25,000 financial advisors affiliated with our PLS clients, further strengthening our position as one of the leading knowledge-based mortgage originators and servicers in the United States."

For more investor news, Bank of America issued a disaster update for the Texas wildfires. It also addressed the Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD), provided a revised loan purchase voucher, and a new LPV Affordable Loan Program Addendum.
Suntrust told clients that, "HUD REO properties that only require a minimum down payment of $100 may only have a maximum total loan amount including upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) equal to or less than the "as is" appraised value. This update does not affect 203(b) with repair escrow loans."

JPMorgan Chase issued a bulletin serving as a reminder of the Chase price cap policy for Standard Mandatory, AOT/Direct Trade and Best Efforts products, and also increased its price adjustment for agency fixed rate high balance loans by .125.

The Department of Agriculture sent out a form (10-11)1980-21 "that must be used on any files received for Conditional commitment, as the revised form incorporates the required annual fee disclosures." It also told folks that "funding for the Single Family Housing Guarantee Loan Program (SFHGLP) will not be available for a short period of time at the beginning of Fiscal year 2012. During the time frame between October 1st, 2011 and receipt of continuing resolution funds, Conditional Commitments will be issued "subject to the availability of commitment authority" for both purchase and refinance transactions. The FY12 up-front guarantee fee will be 2% for purchase transactions and 1% for refinance transactions In addition to the up-front guarantee fee, all FY 2012 obligations (purchase and refinance)will be subject to an annual fee of 0.3 % of the average schedule unpaid principal balance of the loan. Contact Tony Ballestero if you have any questions: 208-733-5380, ext. 106 or visit

ING Mortgage let brokers know that it made some changes to rate adjustments, starting today. "ING to ING Refinance rate adjustment will be removed. Second Home rate adjustment will be increased from 0.125% to 0.375%."

Franklin American sent out over four pages of changes to their guidelines, and the corresponding sections of FAMC's guide. Topics ranged from new forms for FHA condominiums & the total loan amount for IRRRLs including the EEM cost improvements to the new annual guarantee fee for USDA loans & employer relocation assistance. As always, it is best to consult the actual announcement for information - it is too long to detail here.

GMAC Bank Wholesale & Correspondent reminded clients that Monday is Columbus Day and a federal holiday. Therefore, many banks and the U.S. Postal Service will not be open for business. GMACB will be open for business, but the day cannot be included in the rescission period for refinances. It is not a business day.

The markets are behaving themselves, although fixed-income traders report that trading in this environment is growing increasingly difficult. "We're approaching levels that suggest the worst is built in." The MBA reported that mortgage applications fell 4.3% last week in spite of the great rates. Banks are afraid to lend, to put it simply. Volatility picked up a little Monday afternoon when traders realized the Fed's daily purchases were not going to be enough to hold up mortgages at current (low) yields, higher levels of volatility and supply. Throw in some European uncertainty and the REIT issues mentioned above and folks become nervous.

Bernanke's talk yesterday showed concern about the problems in Europe and market uncertainty, and he urged policy action to support the housing market and encouraged Congress to come up with a long-run plan for fiscal responsibility - nothing too dramatic. But he feels that stabilization in the housing market is crucial to the economic recovery, and that Congress should focus on policies to support housing such as managing REO overhand, facilitating refinancing for underwater borrowers, stabilizing distressed neighborhoods, and suggesting a clear path for the future of the mortgage finance system. Good luck with that one ahead of next November.

By the end of yesterday Treasury rates were nearly unchanged from Monday's closing levels, with the 10-yr at 1.78%. Originator selling picked up with supply totaling between $2 and $3 billion, higher than average over the last 30 days per Tradeweb, which pushed MBS prices down about .375.

Overnight Italy's credit rating was cut by Moody's for the first time in almost two decades on concern that chronically weak growth will make it difficult to reduce the region's second-largest debt while fallout from the region's debt crisis boosts financing costs. Do you think so? Moody's lowered Italy's rating three levels to A2 from Aa2, with a negative outlook. The ADP numbers came out this morning. Small business service providing companies contributed nearly 2/3 of the jobs - and the basic ADP number showed a pickup of 91k, a little stronger than expected. Later we have an ISM Non-Manufacturing number. The 10-yr is up to 1.88% and MBS prices are worse.  Prices

(An example of mistaken unintended consequences.)

Ole and Lars were on their very first train ride. They had brought along bananas for lunch. Just as they began to peel them, the train entered a long, dark tunnel.
"Have you eaten your banana yet," Ole asked excitedly?
"No," replied Lars..
"Vell, don't touch it den," Ole exclaimed.  "I yust took vun bite and vent blind!"